Washington: Hailing the contribution of leaders of the Gadar movement in India`s freedom struggle, Indian-Americans from across the US have called for remembering their sacrifices annually on Memorial Day.
"The Indian-American community, at least on Memorial Day (the last Monday of May), should remember the sacrifices of Gadarites," said California-based Inder Singh, chairman of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO).
Singh, the co-author of `The Gadar Heroics`, said the Indian-American community leaders should organise tribute events to perpetuate the memory of the brave Indian-Americans who laid down their lives in pursuit of freedom for India.
"It will be somewhat like organising India Independence day. It will be a great community service to educate our community of our Indian American history, of our Indian American heritage, of passing on the legacy of the pioneers to the next generation," he said in his remarks at an event held in the Greater Washington Area last night.
Singh has been leading effort in the US towards the centennial celebrations of Gadar movement.
In her address, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said the Gadar movement heralded the independence movement of the country.
She listed out the steps being taken by the Indian government, including release of a stamp by the Prime Minister early this year, to recognise the significant contribution of the movement in India`s freedom struggle.
"It is the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of courage that was exemplified by these young people, who were inspired by the call of freedom," Rao said.
The Gadar Memorial Hall in San Francisco would be converted into a functional library and museum by the Indian Government, she said.
Surinder Pal Singh, 76, the grandson of Bhagwan Singh, one of the eminent Gadarites, who flew in from Atlanta for the occasion, said there is need to recognize the contribution of the Gadar movement and its leaders in the freedom struggle.
"Just releasing a stamp is not enough. It has been kept away from history books," he said, adding that it is time that Gadar movement be made part of the history text books.
It was a century ago that in 1913, a handful of patriotic Indian-Americans on the West Coast launched the Gadar movement and they established its headquarters in San Francisco.
Inder Singh said the current generation of Indian- Americans knows very little about the history of Indians in America and no effort has been made in this regard so far.
"To know the legacy of the pioneers and pass on to the next generation rests solely on us and particularly on our community leaders who organize various events," he said.
"Every year, Americans pay tribute to their martyrs. The last Monday of May is observed annually as Memorial Day - a day of national awareness and reverence, to honor those who have given their all in service to their country," he said.